Financial Times The FT has introduced a new web app to circumvent Apple's levy
The Financial Times has launched a new web-based iPad and iPhone app in an attempt to circumvent the 30 per cent charges levied on app sales by Apple.

The new app allows the FT to establish a direct relationship with its users, who will be able to update the HTML 5-based app through the FT website, allowing the newspaper to take the full revenue.

The app, which the FT today boasts is the first of its kind in national news publishing, follows significant discontent among publishers over the 30 per cent levy introduced by Apple on purchases through its App Store.

Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, said the FT had no plans to pull out of the App Store or any other third party market, but the organisation is urging users on its site to "switch immediately" to the new web-based app.

Grimshaw added that a marketing campaign would be used to encourage people to buy directly from the FT, alongside the offer of a week's free access to the new app.

FT chief executive John Ridding played down the relevance of Apple's 30 per cent cut in the decision to launch the app: "This is not about Apple. It's about our readers and making sure they have a consistent experience."

But a release from the FT today said that the new app "comes after several publishers have expressed unhappiness at Apple’s reluctance to share detailed data on the identities and behaviour of users of apps distributed through its store".

Shortly after Apple's February announcement about the new app store charges, the International News Media Association (INMA) hit out at the technology company over the plans, claiming that it would hinder news publishers in investing in new technology and development.

Under Apple's rules, publishers who make a subscription offer outside of an app must make the same or better offer from within the app, where Apple will receive a 30 per cent share of the revenue.

But the FT will not have to relinquish any of the revenue from purchases of its new web-based app, which effectively cuts out the middle man and lets customers buy directly from the FT.

The FT launched a metered paywall around its online content in 2007, allowing users to view 10 free articles a month, after which they are prompted to pay. The site is able to obtain data about its free users as well as subscribers, with both obliged to enter some information as part of the registration process.

The site has seen 224,000 people subscribe online since the introduction of the charges, each paying at least £250 a year.

According to Grimshaw, around 15 per cent of the FT's new digital subscribers access content through mobile devices.

Yesterday Apple announced the launch of iCloud, a new service that will allow users to store music and other data on Apple servers and transfer it between devices without the aid of a PC.

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